Our dear brother and son, Thomas John Jurek, passed peacefully on March 29, 2018 surrounded by his loved ones here in Calgary, and in spirit with his family in the Czech Republic, and friends around the world.
Born to Kveta (Flora) and Jan Jurek in Calgary Alberta. He was very much the child of an aviator and moved often. Tom moved to Houston Texas when he was 2. He loved Houston especially because he thought the July 4th celebration was a fireworks festival to celebrate his birthday that was the day before. Later it was discovered it was his Mom that told him that. Tom had made many friends in Texas. He loved the 9 months of summer like weather swimming and riding bikes, but most importantly hanging with his friends drinking Cherry Coke.
He move back to Canada to Bragg Creek Alberta and this is where he developed his love for snow sports. His first year on skis he won his age category in a downhill race at the “legendary” Lyon Mountain. The family then settled in Okotoks where Tom finished the remainder of his schooling. It was there that Tom's future would start to develop. His love for four things emerged: Snowboarding, Fishing, Friends and Aviation. Anyone who knew Tom knew that come September he would get the itch to go out and hike with his friends so he could go riding early in the season. Even towards the end he would get his nephews to tell him about their day snowboarding imagining he was with them. Tom loved to fish and in high school he often caught fish for a local restaurant. One summer his Mother who was perplexed why he never ate dinner? She pressed him as to why; he confessed the restaurant owner had fed him, and his crew, like kings all summer. Later in life he would take his trusty sidekicks his brother Mike and his puppy foxy and go to the river to fish.
After a few years of snowboarding and working at Mission and SMED Tom decide he wanted to be a Pilot. This would make him a third generation aviator. There was no easy ride for Tom. Determined to be a pilot he went from slinging bags on the ramp, to flying in the bitter winters of northern Alberta, to finally going to the big planes in the Middle East. Tom loved his time in the Middle East. He was able to spend lots of time with his Dad, Step Mom Angie and littlest sister Dany. He once shared that flying allowed him to travel to the pages he saw in National Geographic as a kid. Tom was working towards becoming a Captain and on the day of his cancer diagnosis he got his letter about his promotion. Knowing this was to be, had cancer not take this from him; his family lovingly called him Captain Thomas Jurek.
Tom’s story would not be complete if it did not include his love for his friends and family. Tom had always joked that he came from a small family. He said that this was why he adopted so many friends to be extended family members. Tom wore his friendships like a badge of honour. There wasn’t a friend that he wouldn’t try to help. At the end of his life he spent countless hours recounting his adventures with them.
Most importantly Tom took his role as a Son, Brother and Uncle very seriously. There was never a time when any of his family would need him that he wouldn’t be there. Flying home on every leave he got to be at his Mom’s bedside. His nephews called him “Unkie” Tom and viewed him as one of the coolest people on the planet.
Tom had a curiosity of the world, and a spirit of adventure, and though his life was short he saw the world in rarefied air at 5’10 and at 30,000ft.
Because I Fly
Because I fly
I laugh more than other men
I look up and see more than they,
I know how the clouds feel,
What it's like to have the blue in my lap,
to look down on birds,
to feel freedom in a thing called the stick…
who but I can slice between God's billowed legs,
and feel then laugh and crash with His step
Who else has seen the unclimbed peaks?
The rainbow's secret?
The real reason birds sing?
Because I Fly,
I envy no man on earth.
— Author unknown
Tom is survived by his father Jan Jurek (Angie) His siblings Denisa, her husband Borek Horky and their children Jakub (Jana), Premek (Monika) and Deniska; Nicole, her husband Clayton MacNeill and their children Benjamin and Evan; Mike Jurek; Stephanie Jurek; Dany Jurek; Aunt Dr. Magda Vranova; Cousin Dr. Jelka Wagernova and her daughter Madlenka Wagernova; Uncle Tom (Eva); cousins Monica and Katherine; and last but not least, all of Tom’s extended family of friends.
Tom did not want a funeral service. The family will be having a celebration of life dinner in the summer. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Agapé Hospice, to support this critical place for patients and their families.
To specify your donation to The Salvation Army Agape Hospice
Once you have opened the link to the donation page go to “How You Can Help” Scroll down down to 'Donation to a specific location” (click), choose the province in the menu, then specify Calgary Agape Hospice in the location menu
By Mail or Phone:
1302 - 8 Avenue N.W., Calgary, AB T2N 1B8 Telephone: (403) 282-6588